DATE: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
TIME: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
WEATHER: Low 40s rising to low 70s, mostly sunny, windy
WATER CONDITIONS: 0 Units
LOCATIONS FISHED: Norfork River, Mill Dam Eddy to near McClellan’s Dock
FLIES USED: Brown Wayne’s Fly, #14 gray Norfork River Scud, #20 red/silver Zebra Midge, #16 Elk Hair Caddis
ROD USED: Winston 10’ 4-weight WT
HATCHES: Midges, Caddis
OTHER: Fished alone. A neighbor, Ethan, and I walked in about the same time. He remained at Mill Dam Eddy, and I waded upstream and began fishing along the island, managing only a solitary fish, a 10-inch brookie. Further upstream, above the island, the combination of Wayne’s Fly and the zebra midge worked well, taking several fish, including this over-sized, chunky, well-colored rainbow.
Continuing to wade upstream, all the usual places produced fish, though catching was not the machine-gun style we sometimes experience—rather, just moderate and steady. The right descending bank near Ace in the Hole had filled in considerably, and the deep run was pretty narrow, but did produce a few fish. The run below Otter Creek near where the old sycamore tree hung over the bank fished better than the last few years, producing several fish; this brown completed a grand slam.
I waded upstream past Otter Creek to a point about half way between Otter Creek and where McClellan’s Dock use to be, as I had caught lots of fish on the left descending bank there last fall on the scud. It produced several fish, but not near the numbers previously caught.
Fishing my way back downstream, I caught several fish near the sycamore tree across the channel and slightly upstream of Otter Creek. More fish were caught as I waded downstream, including this football-shaped brown.
I fished the right descending run at Ace in the Hole, but this time from the left descending side, and had better success than in the last couple of years.
Another fisher, the best on the river, was here until I came—a great blue heron.
While fishing in this location, I heard the 12:00 o’clock noon Norfork siren. The small riffle and run on the left descending side of the plunge pool held several fish with 3 being caught, including a nice cutthroat. It was here that my day turned from real good to great, even glorious, as I noticed caddis hatching, and fish rising to take the adult insects.
The first riffle upstream of the island below McClellan’s had changed considerably, with most flows discharging from the right side, but the tiny riffle on the left did hold fish. I began there using Wayne’s Fly, but quickly changed to a caddis and was rewarded with a fish practically every cast—it was one of those rare days you never forget! Most of the fish were small, but I did catch a couple in the 15-inch category. I was almost giddy watching the small trout jump out of the water after the caddis fly.
By this time—I had already caught about 5 dozen fish—I knew Kay would be anxious as to why I was not home, so I began walking out, and just before reaching the access noticed a lone fisher rushing upstream—my good friend, Ed. When he found out about the caddis, he was elated. He fished Mill Dam Eddy, with only minor success; we waded upstream, but didn’t have any success along the island. Another fisher was fishing the riffle above the island, and Ed fished his way upstream on the left descending side, with no fish. Finally, at the riffle, he tied on a caddis and was rewarded with several fish. By this time, two other fishers had joined the solitary fisher at the riffle, and were catching quite a few fish, but were using a heavily weighted fly under a strike indicator. They had no clue about the caddis hatch and rising fish. As they left, we moved over to that larger riffle, and while standing there, I tripped and slid over a rounded, moss-covered stone and fell in—getting water in my waders—not a graceful move, and while standing relatively still no less! Ed took pity and said he was ready to go, so we waded downstream and back to the car. As chance would have it—actually a God incident—I had thought about Ed while fishing the caddis hatch. It was sure good to fish with him again, particularly to rising fish!